I write to you as the Chair of the ABCNJ Public Mission Committee to invite you to participate in an important moment in history. In his recent pastoral letter, entitled, A Higher Way: American Baptists and our Neighbors, Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer, General Secretary of ABC-USA (or Lee, to most of us), issued a call to “All American Baptists to travel to Washington D.C. for a potentially historic religious service and demonstration on April 4, 2018 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The flyer for the event can be downloaded below.
This call was issued in the context of Dr. Spitzer’s overall message concerning the times in which we find ourselves, times in which racism, prejudice and xenophobia are rising in many and frightening ways in both our society and government. As our General Secretary said in his letter, ‘as representatives of the Kingdom of God envisioned by Jesus...we must not remain silent’ in such times.
ABCNJ and Public Mission Committee have responded to the General Secretary’s call. The mission of the Public Mission Committee is to stand at the crossroads of culture to show the world the way of Jesus Christ. As Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran, our Interim Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor recently wrote, “The church is the embodiment of Jesus on earth, as Jesus was the very embodiment of God. We are, therefore, called to bring the presence of Jesus in every space we inhabit and change the world.” In such a time as this, we believe that the Church must unite and stand against racism and hatred in all its forms. We encourage you and your congregation to attend this important event!
You can learn more about this event, as well as register for it, at rally2endracism.org. This event is being organized by numerous Christian groups, including the National Council of Churches, to which ABCUSA belongs. The rally will be held on the National Mall from 7AM to 4PM. For those who are interested, there will also be a worship service at St. Sophia’s Orthodox Church on the night of April 3rd, as well as a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill on April 5th. We encourage you to gather your people to attend the rally and any other of these events that interest you. You and your church may arrange for your own transportation; or, when you register, look for transportation options. There will be buses running from various locations throughout the country.
We would also like to arrange to gather together at the rally to demonstrate our regional unity. We, therefore, ask that, in addition to registering with the organizers of the rally, you inform us of your intention to attend so that we may be in communication with you concerning a meeting point and other details.
American Baptists have long been at the forefront in the struggle for justice for all people. We hope that you can join us as our region and denomination make a clear stand against racism and hatred in such a time as this.